What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Therapist (as in Counseling Psychology)

by Theresa
(Fairbanks, Alaska)

My story begins in 1988 and continues in every position I have ever held regardless of my rank, position, or duties. I have been an Executive Director, an addictions treatment therapist, counselor for a women's and children's program, children's therapist, a medical interventionist, a clinical services coordinator, and currently a therapist in a crisis respite facility. I am entirely aware of the traits I possess that make me an excellent target and as I am now 60 years old I no longer expect to hold a position in a conventional facility without being bullied eventually.

My core ability to rapidly assess all my clients, build rapport almost immediately, and conduct what I now term rapid response interventions stems from the fact that I am a survivor of almost every type of trauma, abuse, neglect, addiction, and compromised social condition you can throw at me. The sad fact is that I have reported to so many personality disordered managers, especially here in Alaska (I will cite the reasons for that later) that I can easily identify which category they fall into rather quickly. Despite all that I continue to suffer each time I am bullied. Granted, because I have specialized in treating trauma and anxiety disorders, I am able to command myself well in most situations, there are times when I feel worn down to a nubbin and I react knowing full well that the bully is again feeling triumphant.

The details of each job's mobbing and bullying differ in accordance with the characters, but most of the time, the dynamics were similar. You see, I am often seen as particularly annoying because I am proficient in both clinical and administrative skills. I am not boasting but my IQ is very high. On top of that, I am an American Indian/Irish individual with a nose for rooting out oppression. I am always pro client and I am very effective in motivating change in people who feel that life has kicked the crap out of them. For this, I am pretty consistently bullied.

I am currently a target again, but I am in a completely unique situation in which the manager targeting me is increasingly desperate to regain a stranglehold on the power she lost due to the onset of a complete financial collapse of the organization. She blames it all on the state and has no accountability herself. She is a Queen Bee and I am The Threat. We are now in receivership and there are objective parties (consultants) in the organization running middle management because she bullied them all out. I report to a consultant who trusts me!

Alaska is the final refuge of people from the lower 48 who grandiose ideas of themselves, can manipulate their way into top positions and then wreck an entire organization here. It's is fertile ground for bullies of all kinds.

One thought: the book is lacking information on the specifics of self change involving neural plasticity, dampening reactivity, adversity tolerance, and stress inoculation. These are my specialty in treating trauma survivors. I have become quite proficient at this as I have experience across my life span in all kinds of trauma. At my age, I know with confidence that the bully is the problem because whenever I have taught university classes, I always pack my courses. My sense of humor is well-developed and is often my best friend in psychological survival. I have never been bullied in an academic environment because I was on my own in my classes and the administrators naturally loved the fact that I filled all the seats. Indeed, I know that I threaten lesser minds who are not creative in solving problems and who may fear shaking the janitor's hand, but I really enjoy a good conversation with all the people in my environment. Humble means not above or below. Perhaps I can share some details of how I now handle bullying. By the way, in all these years I've only been officially fired once. Thanks for reading my story.

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Reply to Therapist
by: Anonymous

I have experienced the same thing. I too was a Psychotherapist and very good at helping people change their lives from dysfunction to functionalism. My colleagues were jealous and I was targeted.
I left retrained as a Lawyer and now have my own firm. You're too good at what you do and that threatens others. It's their problem not yours.
You're obviously talented, don't give up. Consider your options and if necessary you can retrain or start your own organisation. The Clients will come because you're good at what you do.
I wish you all the best.

Thanks for sharing
by: Anonymous

Hi,
This sounds so familiar and I like how you own the qualities that make you a likely target in these conventional work settings. It gave me hope to see that you have moved on. I too have worked in counselling and I am a nurse practitioner. I have had a variety of work experiences that ended in me moving on as the bully's sharpened their arrows. I have always felt lucky that I have a skill set where it is easy to move on. I am now one year post a complete mobbing lead while in a Director position, in the far North, by one of my best students. She systematically defiled my professionalism and integrity and lead a charge to have me removed. I wasn't fired however it was felt that I couldn't stay in that community in that role so what message did this send to the staff. I was completely blindsided by this as I hadn't realized how long she had been working at this and how well she did it.
I felt I was an excellent clinician, teacher, mentor and administrator however this has me questioning everything. I hope I too will be able to look back at this and recognize my strengths and move on.

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